The Begotten Son of God
When the King James Bible was published, it stated in its preface that the translation had “given such a blow unto that man of sin, as will not be healed.” Unfortunately the translators underestimated the Papal power. Not only did the Papacy bring out their Douay translation during the same period, but they began by subtle means to defeat Protestantism.
When the devil could not destroy the church by persecution, he altered his tactics. Instead of killing Christians, he began to change the Bible, the foundation upon which Protestant belief rested. The work took many centuries, but little by little the deity of Christ was removed from the modern versions. The deletions continue, and new printings of later versions are changed again and again.
Hundreds of changes have eliminated important words and phrases, and it is quite clear that the deity of Christ is being attacked. Of course this is not surprising, as the devil hates the relationship of Christ to His Father. He began his attack in heaven, and when in the wilderness he said, “If you are the Son of God….” it was a covert negative designed to place doubt in the mind of Christ. Matthew 4:3.
Satan well knew the position the Saviour had held in heaven and he was envious. “Lucifer allowed his jealousy of Christ to take hold of him.” PP35. “Why”, questioned this mighty angel, “should Christ have the supremacy? Why is He honored above Lucifer?” PP36. We might ask the same question, but let the prophet answer. “Christ was the Son of God; He had been one with Him before the angels were called into existence. He had ever stood at the right hand of the Father…” PP38.
“Who is Christ?” asks Ellen White. Replying to her own question she says, “He is the only begotten Son of the living God. He is to the Father as a word that expresses the thought -- as a thought made audible. Christ is the word of God.” Youth’s Instructor Aug 28. 1894.
Yes, Christ is the only begotten Son of God – begotten of His Father. We must be clear on this point. God really has a Son.
Listen to the words of E.J. Waggoner one year after Minneapolis. “While both (the Father and the Son) are the same nature, the Father is first in point of time. He is also greater in that He had no beginning, while Christ’s personality had a beginning.” ST. Apr 8. 1889.
What does he mean by personality? Sister White uses the same word. “The Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father, is truly God in infinity, but not in personality.” MS 116. Dec 19. 1905.
The 1828 Webster’s dictionary defines personality as, “That which constitutes an individual, a distinct person, or that which constitutes individuality.” So both Waggoner and the prophet are saying Christ is a distinct person who had a beginning prior to the incarnation, not as a coeternal and co-equal member of a triune Godhead, but as the only begotten Son of God.
“Oh what a gift God has made to our world! The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, liable to physical infirmities, tempted in all points like as we are. He was the Son of the living God. His personality did not begin with His incarnation in the flesh.” Letter 77. Aug 3. 1894. EGW
Article from magazine 'Give Him Glory', September 2016 edition
The Begotten Son
This is in dispute today. It is said -- If Christ had a beginning, He cannot be deity.
The fact must be repeated -- Christ did not begin His individual person as the Son of God when He was born of Mary, He came as a Son. At the incarnation, “He became the Son of God in a new sense. Thus He stood in our world--the Son of God, yet allied by birth to the human race.” 1SM 226. Unless Christ was already a Son before He came to our world, He could not be a Son ‘in a new sense’.
We must believe God sent His Son to this world, or we call God a liar. 1 John 4:9. 5:10.
In many Christian circles, the heavenly Sonship of Christ is denied over and over again.
For centuries the Papacy has been removing the deity of Christ from the modern translations, and to make the denial easier, the word ‘begotten’ has been omitted from John 3:16, the most well-known verse in the Bible. “For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son, that whosever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
When the New International Version came out in 1973, it rendered John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” A footnote stated, ‘or His only begotten Son’. Later the footnote was removed.
It is interesting that the Quran in Surah Ikhlas (Holy Qur'an 112:1-4) says Allah is “… the One and Only Allah, the Eternal, Absolute. He begetteth not, nor is He begotten.” www.salmanspiritual.com/ikhlas.html
The Greek word for begotten is monogenes, translated eight times in the King James as a birth. It is a combination of two words mono, meaning ‘only or alone’; and genes, meaning ‘same nature, kind, sort, species or genes’. When the two words are joined – monogenes -- the word means ‘to be only born or begotten’. An only child, whether son or daughter.
The New Testament verses that use monogenes are:
· Luke 7:12 – the only son of his mother.
· Luke 8:42 – he had one only daughter.
· Luke 9:38 – he is mine only child.
· John 1:14 -- as of the only begotten of the Father.
· John 1:18 -- the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father.
· John 3:16 -- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.
· John 3:18 -- he has not believed in the name of God’s only begotten Son.
· Heb.11:17 -- Abraham offered up his only begotten son. (son is supplied)
· 1 John 4:9 -- God sent his only begotten Son into the world.
All texts could be translated ‘only begotten’, however, the King James translators decided to use the word begotten only when it referred to Christ. Abraham’s son Isaac, represents Christ in Hebrew 11:17. Thus begotten has been used.
Recently an elder in Australia had a discussion with his pastor on women’s ordination and the Holy Spirit. Is the Spirit a ‘He’ or an ‘it’? After much discussion, he asked the question, Is God’s Son in John 3:16 a literal Son? The pastor replied, “The word begotten is a bad translation and should not have been used in the King James Version. The word unique should have been used. The name Son of God is a metaphor. A role play.” The elder said, “This alarmed me so much it made me study even harder...”
Angel Manuel Rodriguez, the Director of the Seventh-day Adventist Biblical Research Institute (BRI) stated in his paper ‘The only One Unique’ in Adventist World, “The Son is not the natural, literal Son of the Father… The term ‘Son’ is used metaphorically when applied to the Godhead.” Adventist World. Nov 2015 issue. p42. “When the term is used to describe Jesus, it simply means ‘unique or ‘one and only’.” Quoted in http://thetrinitydoctrine.com/articles/jesus-as-monogenes/
Where is the evidence that monogenes does not mean begotten for God’s Son?
Angel Rodriguez also said, “Jesus is not the literal Son of God. It is a metaphor, a role play and they are all interchangeable as roles.”
Do you realize what Brother Rodriguez is saying?
The co-eternal and co-equal Persons in the Trinity (according to Seventh-day Adventist belief) could have played any role. In other words, the first Person of the Trinity could have acted as the Son and the second Person as the Father. The third Person could have become either the Father or the Son. This is not true research. The Bible says God has a Son.
A Greek friend told me, ‘To a Greek, monogenes means to be born an only child.’
A Church of Christ minister in Georgia states, “Consider once again the verses that say that Jesus, the Son of God, is a begotten being or person… The problem is that these verses have been translated wrong! The word ‘begotten’ in these verses is actually a poor, inaccurate, and misleading translation of the original inspired text.” Bob Williams of www.biblelessons.com
Speaking of those who believe Christ was begotten, Max Hatton states, “These people are very dependent upon the rendering of MONOGENES as ‘Only Begotten’ for they present Jesus as having been born of God at some time in the mystical past. They deny the absolute Deity of Jesus and make out that He is a sort of lesser god. Some have referred to Him as a demi-god. In the light of the above, their attempt to reduce Jesus from being God absolutely and part of the Trinity, fails miserably.” http://thetrinitydoctrine.com/articles/jesus-as-monogenes/
Personally, I do not know anyone who speaks of Christ in this way. He is certainly not a ‘lesser god’, and who would refer to God’s Son as a ‘demi-god’?
He further states, “It is amazing the amount of dust modern day Semi-Arians have been able to throw up in their endeavors to depreciate the value of the Council [of Nicaea] (despite the fact that it supported the idea of ‘only begotten’). The important thing to remember is that no amount of dust should be allowed to obscure the fact that MONOGENES never did truly mean ‘Only Begotten’.” By the way, the Nicaean Creed supports an eternally begotten Son.
Max Hatton concludes, “If you want to be a Semi-Arian you unfortunately finish up with two gods – a Big God and a little god. Scriptural facts show that Jesus is no depreciated god but is a Member of the Almighty Trinity… The Bible warns that there will be many false teachers peddling their wares in the last days. Every wind of doctrine is blowing today and there seems to be a tendency on the part of some to run off with every new heresy. Really though, there aren't any new heresies – they are only old ones done up in modern dress. The Trinity doctrine is a wonderful truth.” Ibid.
Similar thoughts from a non-Adventist site.
“False teachers have latched onto this phrase [only begotten] to try to prove their false teaching that Jesus Christ isn’t God; i.e. that Jesus isn’t equal in essence to God as the Second Person of the Trinity. They see the word ‘begotten’ and say that Jesus is a created being because only someone who had a beginning in time can be ‘begotten’.” www.gotquestions.org
This is why many accuse non-Trinitarians of believing Christ was created! We do not know the ‘when’ or the ‘how’ of the birth of God’s Son, but if we are Bible students, we will know that God’s Son is absolute deity, according to the word of the Father and Jesus’ own testimony.
It is no wonder the Antichrist is identified as denying that God sent His Son. John puts it a number of ways in his epistle, “Jesus is the Christ”, “Jesus is come in the flesh”, “God gave His Son”, “God sent His only begotten Son into the world.” To disbelieve any of these is to identify oneself as the antichrist. “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?... Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father… He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son.” 1 John 2:22.23.
The Catholic Church does believe God sent His Son, however, an ‘eternally begotten’ Son is a contradiction of terms. This means the Papal Church does not actually believe the Son is begotten or that He came into this world. Thus Catholicism is identified as Antichrist.
The Bible tells us God’s Son was begotten in the “express image of his (Father’s) person”, inheriting His Father’s divine nature. Hebrews 1:3. “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?” Hebrews 1:4.
The word ‘begotten’ is absolutely vital. The angels are called ‘sons of God, and Adam is called the ‘son of God’, therefore God’s biological Son cannot be designated God’s one and only Son, unless He is begotten.
Finally the elder (who was studying in response to his pastor’s reply about the Son of God) wrote a letter to the Conference saying, “How can you say Jesus is NOT the begotten Son of the eternal Father and then share John 3:16 with others in the hope of inviting them to take part in eternal salvation? John 3:16 becomes a lie the moment you deny Jesus is the Son of God.”
Then he asks, “Where is there even the slightest hint in Scripture that they are not a ‘literal Father and Son’?” Good question.
Continuing, “Because I believe that Jesus is the ‘literal Son of God’ and the Comforter is the omnipresence of Jesus living in us as the Comforter (Galatians 4:6.7) my church has seen fit to gag me…. (and the elders have had their private meetings over this matter as if I’m a madman). I can no longer feel at home with the coldness that I’m receiving. What you have done has broken me… I ask for my membership to be taken away from the Seventh-day ‘Adventist Church… I stand today proud and say, ‘I AM A SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST.” Our brother has been hurt, but his faith is strong.
But he is not the only one facing this type of treatment from church leaders. Brethren in Michigan USA who believe God has a Son, have been disfellowshipped and forbidden to enter Seventh-day Adventist premises.
At the beginning of July, David Asscherick warned the church at large against materials of those who believe God has a literal Son. He said their books, magazines and DVDs are throughout the church and no one should read them, or watch their DVDs.
A brother recently sent me an email which said in part, “The opposition to the truth is sinking to a new low. At North Queensland camp the speaker likened anti-Trinitarians to having paedophiles in the church.”
In conclusion I want to quote from other Christians who do believe Jesus to be the only begotten Son of God, although possibly Trinitarians. The thoughts are good.
Bible Researcher says, “John is not saying that the Son is ‘one of a kind’. He is saying that Christ is the second of a kind, uniquely sharing the genus of the Father, because He is the only-begotten Son of the Father.” http://www.bible-researcher.com/only-begotten.html
He also stated, “As the only-begotten Son, Jesus is in the closest intimacy with God. There is no other with whom God can have similar fellowship. He shares everything with this Son. For this reason Jesus can give what no man can give, namely, the fullest possible eye-witness account of God. He knows God, not just from hearsay, but from incomparably close intercourse with Him…” Ibid.
Herman M F Buchsel in Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament concludes that the word in John’s Gospel denotes “more than the uniqueness or incomparability of Jesus because it also denotes the origin of Jesus … as the only-begotten.” Ibid.
Obviously Jesus did not become a Son when He was resurrected, although some people believe this is so. Paul quotes Psalm 2:7, “…Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten (yalad 3205, to bear, bring forth, beget) thee” when in Antioch Pisidia to give evidence that Jesus is the prophesied begotten Son of God. Acts 13:33.
The Greek word used for begotten is not monogenes, nor is it ginomai, but it is gennao (1080, from 1085)) meaning to procreate, to bear, to beget, bring forth.
The Gentiles of Antioch were so captivated by Paul’s message, they asked him to return the following Sabbath “that these words might be preached.” Acts 13:42. The following Sabbath “came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” Acts 13:44.
My Greek friend stated, “When this word refers to Christ, it means Jesus was the only one born of God (only begotten). Geneo means give birth or be born.”
The text is repeated again by Paul in Hebrews 1:5. “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son.” (KJV -- NIV quotes its own translation)
My Greek friend said, “In Hebrews 1:5 where God is talking to His Son He says, "You are My son, today I gave birth to you.’ The word unique in Greek is monadikos, a different word as you can see. I hope this helps.”
If it is true that monogenes does not include begotten in its understanding, the truth is still revealed in the Scriptures that God’s Son was begotten in eternity.
I totally reject the picture portrayed in the final sentence of the JFS article – “The big question is, is Jesus true God or is He an inferior deity and a ‘begotten’ clone of God?” JFS p5. (Underlining in quote) Truth is far above this type of language.
Jesus is begotten of His Father --- that is the truth.
Will you help preserve the truth and share Christ as the Son of the living God?